Free RV Camping Options – Dispersed Camping in National Forests
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Free RV Camping Options – Dispersed Camping in National Forests


We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to find dispersed camping spots. We love to boondock. Now that we’re back in the Southwest, We’re going to start doing a lot more of it. So we want to show you how to find
dispersed camping spots. What to do when you camp here and some of the upsides and downsides of camping out in the middle of nowhere. The best way to find dispersed camping is stopping at the National Forest office or a ranger office in the area that you’re looking to camp. The thing you want to ask for is information on dispersed camping. So I just went into the office and I have a whole sheet on dispersed camping in the Coconino Forest. It has rules on campfire, human waste, pet waste, how far you should park off the road, but the best thing to have is the motor vehicle use map . This map has a legend that will tell you exactly where you’re allowed to disperse camp. So if you’re new to disperse camping, my recommendation is to go in talk to a ranger or someone who works for the public land that you’re looking to camp on. But other resources we like to use is Allstays Camp & RV app on our phone. A few websites such as freecampsites.net and campendium.com Whenever we’re looking for a dispersed camping site, the first thing we do is detach the Jeep
and scout the area. This happens to be one of the best roads
we’ve seen to disperse camping. A lot of times you’ll find a road that’s rutted out, there are rocks and other things that you would never want to take your RV or trailer down. But if you have something like a Jeep and your tent camping, it’s perfect. So we’re trying to avoid roads like this. There is no way we would get a Class A RV down this without being in a lot of trouble. Scraping trees and various other things. So again, we’re looking for a much better groomed road. Depending on what you have and how you’re going to get down here,
this may work for you. Also consider things like whether. You may be fine to get down this road, but are you going to be able to get out after it’s raining and this is potentially muddy and full of water. Now, this is the entrance to our site. We picked it because the road isn’t run rutted out at all, it’s fairly smooth and there is a nice flat spot at the top of this road for us to park. This isn’t an access road for anything else. So a lot of times, off the main road you’ll have an access road that a lot of locals will use. We try to avoid those, so we don’t have people
driving by the RV all day long. Depending on where you’re camping, sometimes you’ll find a sign like this. That says this is a camping spot and the number of days you’re allowed to stay here. Now some of the pros and cons of boondocking. Pros: I mean, you can’t complain about this as your backyard. You also typically don’t have neighbors
right on top of you. Which also leads me to a con. Which is, if you have neighbors for example that are blasting their music at all hours of the day There’s no one to call, because there are no quiet hours. You can however move to another spot. We recently had a neighbor that had two people come down the little access
road he was right off of, they were playing music and they seem like they were going to be partying this weekend. So we saw him pick up and move to another spot. The best part about boondocking is the
absolute freedom and some of the best views around. Now a lot of people have asked us in the past
about safety. We’ve always felt very safe. When we leave for the day, we leave our RV. Sometimes we take some of our valuables with us, but we make sure to lock up. We put all the shades down so people can’t look in the RV. But aside from that we’ve never had any issues while boondocking. We also never see Rangers. You are on your own. If something happens, you’re going to
need to deal with it. So make sure that if you go boondocking, you know where the local hospital is, numbers for emergency services and always check to see if you’re getting cell coverage. If you don’t get cell coverage, what is the closest place you can go to to make a phone call if you have an emergency. These are just some of the things
to consider when boondocking. Some of the other ones are making sure you conserve electricity, water, your tank space. For us, one of the biggest things is always
our black tank. That seems to fill up first. But for very outdoorsy people, nature can become your bathroom. Just make sure you’re digging a pit so you can leave your waist there and cover it up when you’re gone. Take all the trash out with you. There are people out here that leave their trash. The site next to us actually has part of a couch laying next to the fire pit. We always try to clean up the site as much as possible so it’s even in better shape for the people who come and use it after us. Thank you so much for watching.

22 Comments

  • vegasdavetv

    get a can of bear pepper spray for the rv. i will knock anything or anyone out. its legal to carry, in fact you can even take it to canada, just declare it, yet personal pepper spray is not legal.

  • Ken Brewer

    Very informative. I also had never heard the term "Dispersed Camping".  And I was not aware that personal pepper spray could not be carried into Canada. Good to know!

  • Pamela Haukaas

    Noticed the solar panels, can you please do a segment on the set-up? Love the interaction between the two of you. Hope all goes will in CA.

  • Lee Drew

    I've heard you mention problems with cell phone coverage several times in your posts. Have you folks ever considered getting your amateur radio (ham) licenses? With repeater stations on top of so many mountains, you'd be surprised how good the coverage is across the country. You can't use an amateur radio like a phone, but you could request help and ask the locals for advice. The ham community is famous for their hospitality to other hams. http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training

  • Jim Shireman

    Really good info guys about boondocking… We are a year or so away from going full time but have yet to "pracitce" boondocking in our own area which would be a really good idea.

  • Slim Lundeen

    You can also get the MVUM, Motor Vehicle Use Map, for free, on PDF Maps. It is a great app, that reads GeoPDFs which shows the GPS coordinates of where you are. The Forest Service has a great site where you can download their GeoPDFs topos and the Map Store at PDF Maps has all the others,…..well a lot of the others. Some of the National Forests have not put out all there maps as GeoPDFs yet but a lot have. Coconino is one of them that has. Check them out. I learned about the app at a mountain bike trail building school and now I can pass it on.

  • Hindsight

    I prefer backpack camping off trails in state forests or national parks here in Australia. Both legal with no limit but staying in one stop leads to damage which you can be picked up on. Never understood the idea of taking an entire RV with you, it's a bit like taking a house, you just separate yourself from the nature you are trying to attain and view.

  • Tony Belisle

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for TELLING me about freecamping.net I been wondering how the he'll to find out how so THANK you for that

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